Krishnanand Maillacheruvu is a professor of civil engineering and serves as the department’s undergraduate program coordinator.
When I grew up, there was a lot of interest in the environment. I worked on a project in high school that looked at how salinity and the oxygen content in water affected freshwater fish. I thought, “This is really fascinating.” Civil engineering was a way to become involved in the environmental field.
Last year I was involved in research relating to the impact of microplastics in oceans and rivers in India, working mainly on some policy and regulatory issues. My current research on production of biochar from biosolids, in partnership with the Greater Peoria Sanitary District, involves finding sustainable technical solutions to managing wastewater sludge.
People might think of civil engineers as people who build roads, buildings, bridges, etc. But civil engineering is actually a very broad field that involves designing/building the infrastructure and protecting the environment we all live in. In fact, if you go back to the history of engineering, it all began with civil engineering from which various technical disciplines emerged as they came into their own. Engineering is really applied science, and the main goal is to help humanity and society function in a sustainable way.
It’s just something I’m very passionate about. I think it is a reward to be able to communicate an idea that is difficult to understand. I mean, that’s the role of a teacher! The biggest reward for me is seeing students being able to pick up on a concept and then — even more important to me — being able to apply it and eventually go out and have successful careers and lives.
If you had asked me this question when I first came here as a graduate student, my list would have been about 10 pages long. I’ll tell you, even making a phone call home was a big deal. What I miss mostly about India now would be the actual, physical experience of being there. But with the internet and all the changes that have happened since, you can say it has brought India to America.